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Buying your own device

What information do you need to think about when purchasing your own devices for your course?

Unfortunately we are unable to supply a definitive list of devices students should or shouldn't buy. This is because there are now so many devices and operating systems on the market we aren't able to test them all. Students should ensure that any device they bring onto the university network (via our UHI WiFi) has up to date anti virus software and that updates are regularly applied (please see the UHI Acceptable Use Policy for more details). We are able to supply some software for current students under our license agreements, this includes Microsoft Office 2013. Free anti-virus is also available from us. See our Software Download pages for more details.

When making a technology purchase everyone needs to consider their personal budget and what else they might use the device for. When buying a device for your university work there may be some additional considerations:

The type of course you are doing and the format of your assessments;

  • Some devices are more suited to working with a lot of text, other devices are better for dealing with creative software applications. Some courses may require the use of very specialist software or devices, your course tutor will be able to advise on the format of your assessments and course materials which may help you make a decision.
  • Your course tutor will also be able to advise on the medium that your course will be taught through. If it is going to be taught via Blackboard or VC you should ensure that the device you purchase is able to run the required components for those applications. You can check what Blackboard requires to run via our Blackboard Browser Check page.
  • Many of the applications the university provides are available from the MyUHI service, without having to install local applications. You may wish to check that you can use MyUHI with your device. You can do this by checking on the Citrix downloads page to see if a Citrix receiver plugin is available for use for the devices operating system.
  • The university uses Office365 for student and staff email, there are certain browsers and operating systems that work best with this. You can check what is supported this via the Microsoft Website.
  • Information on VC software is also available from within this site.

How comfortable you are with using technology;

  • Devices which are common or that have a standard operating systems will generally have more information available from a number of sources should you run into difficulties.


If you are not buying a new device you should make sure that any device you are using meets the specifications and that browser and plug-in versions are those noted as supported for Blackboard and Office365 use.

Recommended minimum computer specifications


If your course requires that you have your own computer, the minimum required specifications are listed below. If your computer doesn't meet the specifications you may be able to upgrade it.

Where laptop specs differ from desktop specs, laptop specs are provided immediately below the desktop specs.

UHI minimum system requirements
Windows Mac
Operating system Windows 7 or 8 Mac OS 10.6.x >
Processor Intel Core i3/i5 - 2nd/3rd Gen 1.2GHz or better Intel Core i5 quad-core iMac 1.2GHz or better
RAM 4GB or more (the more the better)
Optical drive 8x CD-RW/DVD +RW Superdrive
Monitor 17" or larger (the bigger the better)
(Laptop: 15" or larger screen)
Microphone / headphones USB headset with microphone
Webcam Built-in or external (it is easier to adjust the camera angle with an external)
Broadband Required


NB: please go to the Blackboard browser check page and check that your computer has the correct browser settings and required free software to run Blackboard.